Monday, December 8, 2008

Live theater - a forgotten joy

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing a play, Around the World in 80 Days, with my family. To be honest, the main reason we went was that my 9th grader had an assignment from his Drama class that required him to see a live performance and write a review.

Sitting in the theater watching that play, I realized that I hadn't been to a play or any other professional production in years.(I don't think my kids' school band concerts count!) I'd forgotten how creative live theater can be. With 5 people and a single, simple set, this play transported us by train and ship to several cities around the world. It was wonderful! It was so much more engaging than the typical movie or television show. It required us to use our imaginations. My kids and I really enjoyed the show.

Before the show, the Director of the theater came out and implored the audience to make donations to keep the theater going and to support their arts education program for local schools. It was sad. I couldn't imagine Steven Spielberg standing up in the front of a movie theater and begging for donations to help him make his next movie.

Have Americans forgotten the joy of live theater?

At first I thought maybe it was the expense or the planning involved, but then I realized that it's not as expensive as a live sports event and it doesn't take any more advanced planning. In my case, I think I had just forgotten about theater as an entertainment option.

I think I may give my family tickets to a future play for Christmas. It's a gift of time together, and it will help us remember this simple pleasure.

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